Widow of bus driver 'fatally beaten by passengers refusing to wear face masks' calls for end to 'massacre'

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  • July 11, 2020
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The wife of a French bus driver who died after reportedly being attacked by passengers refusing to wear face masks, has spoken out about her loss.

Philippe Monguillot, 59, died in hospital on Friday after he was declared brain dead following the alleged assault on Sunday in the city of Bayonne.

The incident occurred after Mr Monguillot instructed four passengers to cover their faces as part of measures to stem the spread of coronavirus, according to prosecutors.

News of the assault has sparked outrage in France, with President Emmanuel Macron dispatching interior minister Gerald Darmanin to meet the driver’s widow following the announcement of his death.

Veronique Monguillot holds a photo of her with her husband during a protest march in Bayonne (AP)

Veronique Monguillot said she and their three daughters were left “destroyed” by the attack at a bus stop in Bayonne, south-west France, on July 5.

She told Mr Darmanin: “We must bang a fist on the table, so this never happens again.

“It’s barbaric, not normal. We must stop this massacre.”

The Bayonne prosecutor said Mr Monguillot was assaulted after he asked four passengers on the number 810 bus to wear face masks, which are required aboard French public transport because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He was insulted, pushed off the bus and violently beaten and kicked in the head, the prosecutor said.

Four suspects remain in custody.

Thousands of people marched in memory of Mr Monguillot (AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Darmanin said: “This bus driver was only doing his job.

“He left his home in the morning and did not come back, leaving a widow and three orphan girls. It is an absolutely odious act.”

Mr Monguillot’s family organised a silent march in memory of the bus driver on Wednesday.

Thousands of people set off for the march from the bus stop where the alleged assault took place.

Fellow bus drivers who worked with Mr Monguillot refused to work after the incident but will reportedly return to work on Monday with reinforced security.

France has reported more than 208,000 confirmed infections and around 30,000 virus-related deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Worldometer tally.